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Completely Twisted

November 6th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

League of Legends has come to the end of its second season, with the Taipei Assassins taking home the mantle of World Champions. With this unexpected victory now behind them, Riot looks to the future of the professional scene and season 3, and begin to lay down their vision in the rework of LoL’s redheaded stepchild of a map, Twisted Treeline.

In a statement regarding the transition period between seasons, Marc Merrill (president of Riot) said that the remake of the map was one element they were introducing to change the nature of the game. Even though Season 2 had seen a lot of adjustments, including the Honor Initiative, Spectator Mode, Champion Remakes, and graphical fixes, these changes were merely the polishing of a game that was already very successful, by professional gaming standards. “But we’re still just getting started. In fact, we’re always striving to improve the game over time. With Season Three on the horizon, expect League of Legends to continue to evolve.”

If the rework of Twisted Treeline proves to be the standard by which Riot moves forward, I am very excited to see what comes next. In its previous incarnation, Twisted Treeline was a muddled mess of a map, too big to be comfortable for 3v3s, but too small for anything else. Its buffs were awkwardly placed, the layout of the jungle was snarled and incoherent, and when these elements were combined with exceedingly narrow lanes, the map gave too much power to teams with heavy control or pull elements like Blitzcrank/Nautilus/Ahri. It was, simply put, frustrating.

Twisted Treeline’s remake was released soon before Elise stepped onto the Field of Champions, and just in time for Halloween. While the various skins and themes of the holiday definitely influence the map, the balance that was once lacking from the Treeline is now closer to being realized. No longer does the TT feel like a sprawling tangled snare, but instead, a more streamlined and action oriented map, where two teams rest for control over altars, and the middle ground. The Elder Lizard and the Dragon are gone, their buffs switched around into two altars and one neutral mob.

If you’re looking for a significant short term buff (and you’re strong enough) head over to Vilemaw, the new boss creep of the map. A giant spider who may have eaten the last boss creep, Vilemaw is a significant threat, and a significant prize. He’ll give you the Crest of Crushing Wrath on his defeat, which may give your team that last rush needed to take the enemy’s Nexus. This isn’t too much different than Baron, and isn’t as interesting a change to the map as the altars are.

The altars are a great point of contention, one which doesn’t rely on a team fighting and getting weakened by a creep. Instead, the two altars are split on either sides of the jungle, one closer to either team. Control one altar, and receive a small gold on kill boost. Control both, and you get increases to your attack damage and your ability power. It’s a way to invest zones of control, and give something for the players to fight over other than towers and creeps. Control over the altars is governed by a small timer, and once you capture one, an altar cannot be recaptured for 90 seconds, making them both a valuable prize and something that isn’t game changing by itself. If your altar is captured, the enemy team gets a small benefit for a short, and then you get to try to reclaim it. It is only over the whole of the game that the bonuses have a decisive impact on your game: if you’ve held both altars for a more significant part of the match, then its buff will be felt in the end as you accrue more gold than your opponents.

The last significant change to TT is the addition of several items. Treeline has a host of new items meant only for it that were added because of the player count. In 5v5s, there’s more of an opportunity for everyone to do a bit of damage, and so the items tend to be a little weaker on the whole. With fewer players and the possibility of a really beefy team, the designed of the new TT felt that some heavily impacting items needed to be in the mix.

On the whole, the new Twisted Treeline is a fun, interesting place, and if we can see this sort of thought put into just a map, I’m looking forward to season 3 as it rolls out. When the designers listen to their players, you get a higher quality game, and though I don’t know what the future holds for League of Legends, I’m sure it’ll be a bright one.

See you on the Fields of Justice, Summoners.

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  1. November 6th, 2012 at 19:11 | #1

    I am glad to see riot working on keeping the game fresh and developing it.
    However Map tweaks are always something that I’m very hesitant about.
    There is an art and a science to building maps for MOBAs (League, DOTA, etc).

    A small artistic change can create imbalances that affect matches. It could be place that now provides a vision advantage, or simply puts someone in range if they’re standing by a wall.
    The little differences make an impact on the larger game. I don’t think change is bad, it just has to be done very carefully.

  2. November 6th, 2012 at 19:27 | #2

    @Martin Chamberlain
    I didn’t like TT at all before the revamp, and now, I’m at least willing to consider it. Before, I felt like it was just a mess, disorganized, clumsy chaos in tight spaces. If I had claustrophobia, this might trigger it.

    But these days, if I don’t have the patience for a full match on SR, I can just go down to TT and try something different. (Sorry Dominion.)

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